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Nuggets of Gold
Friday, December 21, 2007
By Adam Gold
Adam Gold is program director of the Triangle's "850 the Buzz" and host of "The G-spot with Adam Gold" mornings from 6-10 a.m.


Dear Santa, I can explain

By Adam Gold
All rights reserved.

For those of you who feel that Christmas wish lists are reserved for children, I have some news: Adults send letters to Santa as well.

Granted, they’re not written in Crayola, and there’s a fair chance that the letters “E” and “S” are facing in the proper direction. But, I can assure you that wanting to make your gift needs known does not end when you reach middle school.

I have a list — heck, my wife demands I tell her what I want in July. She even goes as far as to threaten to shut me out entirely if I don’t come up with something by August.

My son actually sends letters — several of them, in fact — directly to a Mr. K. Kringle in North Pole, Alaska, looking for a sign that he’s on the nice list.

Recently, due to a U.S. Postal Service mix-up, I received a letter that was originally intended for the North Pole and before I forwarded it on, I just had to take a peak. Sorry, the curiosity was too overwhelming, so sue me. (Like you wouldn’t have done the same thing!)

Dear Santa,

This hasn’t been the best year for me in Greenville. I really made things tough on my head football coach with an incredibly difficult out-of-conference schedule with four teams from major conferences including a pair that made it to a BCS game. On top of that, by the time my team got to the middle of the season they were plum worn out. We didn’t have a bye week until after we’d played 11 games and we looked gassed by the time November rolled around.

I won’t apologize for the difficulty of the schedule because it raised the profile of our football program and we could have — maybe should have — split those four non-conference games. But I should have demanded a break in the schedule before we started hunting down a turkey for Thanksgiving.

I also shouldn’t have arranged for financial aid and a part-time job for my brother. Granted, the money wasn’t exorbitant, it was financial aid that might have been available to any prospective 51-year old student looking to finish up a degree in history, and the part-time job was physical labor in athletic facilities and amounted to less than $10,000 a year. But it looked bad. And it looked worse when there was the appearance that there was some cover-up. That wasn’t my intent and I paid the money back to the university out of my own checking account. I was only trying to help out my brother, who hasn’t had as much success in life as I have, so it was all done with good intentions.

One more thing before I give you my list, Santa. I had to do something this year that hurt me more than anything in my entire professional career. I had to fire/reassign/kick upstairs/let go someone I've been close to almost all his adult life. We’ve never been great at basketball at East Carolina, but last year was the bottoming out for our program and I had to fire Ricky Stokes. Granted I should have never fired Bill Herrion and replaced him with Ricky in the first place, but I’ve known Ricky since he was 16 years old — he played for me at Virginia — and he needed something good to happen to him in his professional career. And it wasn’t like Bill was taking us to a string of NCAA Tournaments, you know.

In any case, as much as it hurt me, after just 9 wins in two seasons against Division I competition, I let Ricky go this summer. I tried to reassign him to a job in fundraising, but that didn’t work out and he’s no longer associated with the university.

So, Santa, any mistakes I’ve made this year were the result of trying to help people that I love and with the best interests of the university at heart. I hope you’ll take all that into account when you decide if I’ve been naughty or nice.

Here’s what I’d like for Christmas this year….

I’d love a big win in basketball. We really need something good to happen to the young men who’ve committed themselves to the Pirates’ program. If you could just bring us a win over, say, Sidney Lowe’s N.C. State Wolfpack, I would be grateful forever. I think if you could get one of the elves to sprinkle some magic dust on Sam Hinnant, we could actually pull this off — especially if the Wolfpack players waltz into Minges Coliseum as if they're the future of college basketball.

I’d also like a brand new conference to play in, Santa. This arrangement in Conference USA isn’t doing us any favors in Greenville. If the Big East isn’t going to invite us to join them, maybe we can convince the folks in our own league to invite a few more teams, divide into two eight-team divisions and have the winners meet for the conference championship. I just don’t like taking our players to El Paso or Tulsa or Houston for a so-called conference game every year.

One final thing, Santa. I want to do something good for the people of Pirate Nation. They’ve been so supportive and so generous to East Carolina athletics since I’ve come to Greenville that I want to do something for them. If you could arrange for our team to play a bowl game in Hawaii just before Christmas, they would have a great excuse to spend the most wonderful time of the year in luxurious Honolulu as opposed to dirty Mobile, Alabama. I think they’d really be excited about playing a game against Boise State with Mele Kalikimaka playing in the background as opposed to listening to the blues in Mobile before a January 5th game against Bowling Green when everyone in this area is watching college basketball.

Thanks again, Santa. The milk and cookies will be on the mantle and there are carrots for the reindeer.

Your pal,

Terry Holland


01/05/2008 03:23:25 PM

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